The Fox is Guarding the Hen House …

Back in the days when I frequently made hiring decisions, my usual venue to search for employees was the local newspaper.  In the last few years of my career, I more often used CareerBuilder or Monster.com.  On a few occasions, when hiring for a higher-level position, I used headhunters.  But never in my most desperate moments would I have dreamed of using Fox News as an employment agency!

bill-shineToday came the announcement that Trump has hired Bill Shine, formerly of Fox News, to be the new communications director, a position previously held by Hope Hicks, Anthony Scaramucci, Sean Spicer and Michael Dubke.  The position has been empty since Hicks left in March after testifying to the House Intelligence Committee that she had lied for Trump.

Shine comes with his own built-in set of controversies, as he was forced to leave Fox News in disgrace in May 2017.  Shine was accused of covering up for a number of sexual harassment cases within the network.  He had been known as Roger Ailes “fixer”, similar to the role Michael Cohen played for Trump.  Ailes was forced out amid a wave of sexual assault allegations that Shine, apparently, tried to cover up, but that later came back to bite him.  Hmmmm … it seems that he will fit right in with the immorality that exists in the White House, doesn’t it?

But this is not the first time Trump has sought to hire Fox News castoffs!

  • john-boltonNational Security Advisor, John Bolton, has been a Fox commentator/contributor for the past ten years.  When hired on by Trump, he indicated that he still considers himself a Fox contributor.

  • Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Heather Nauert, was an anchor on Fox and Friends since 2007, and was hired into the State Department in April 2017, promoted to her current position in March 2018.


  • White House Director of Strategic Communications, Mercedes Schlapp, was a Fox News contributor until her hiring in September 2017; however, she continues to appear regularly on Fox News.


  • Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Tony Sayegh, has been with Fox since 2009, and despite his duties in his new position, he still finds time to appear regularly on Fox News.


  • K.T. McFarland was hired by Trump shortly after the inauguration in January 2017, to serve as Deputy National Security Advisor under Michael Flynn.  McFarland was a Fox contributor since around 2010.  However, after Flynn’s resignation, she was asked to step down.


  • larry-kudlowAlthough this one comes from CNBC instead of Fox, it is worth noting that Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, was hired in March 2018 to replace Gary Cohn who decided he had enough of Trump’s ways.  Kudlow had his own program, The Kudlow Report, until he left to take the position Trump offered.

Given the number of these people who continue to be ‘Fox-friendly’, I have to suggest that we do, indeed, have a state-run media in the U.S., and its name is Fox News.

Bill Shine is known to be a close confidant of Trump’s best buddie Sean Hannity, and I see, with his hiring, even stronger ties between Fox and the White House.  Donald Trump’s main ‘claim to fame’ is his old television ‘reality’ show, The Apprentice.  Trump is an entertainer, a provocateur, and he is running our government like just another freak show.  Frankly, if she weren’t suing him, it wouldn’t surprise me for him to put Stormy Daniels in the position of Director of the Office of Cabinet Affairs!  A fitting position, don’t you think?stormy-danielsWe needed a president who thought with his head, one who understood the workings of government, foreign relations, and environmental concerns, to name a few.  We needed a president who had morals, values. We needed a president who represented the best interests of the people … all the people.  We needed an intelligent, compassionate president. Instead, we got Trump and his band of entertainers.  The White House has been turned into the entertainment capital of the nation.  Eat your heart out, Hollywood!

ENOUGH!!!!

Alright, since Trump so loves to use those words, “You’re Fired”, then it’s time he used them to Mr. Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  NOW!!!  This man is out of control, treating our tax money as his personal expense account and meanwhile doing nothing … absolutely nothing … positive toward the protection of the environment!  I thought I was done writing about him a few weeks ago, thought surely he would be fired within the week, but that has not happened, so I am baaaaaccckkk.

Despite all the scandals that just keep coming, yesterday afternoon Trump praised him!

“… EPA is doing really, really well, someone has to say that about you a little bit, you know that, Scott. People are really impressed with the job that’s being done at the EPA.”

Hello???  Excuse me???  What job?  What EPA, for that matter?  Just two days ago, it was reported that Pruitt had enlisted an EPA aide to help his wife Marlyn obtain and open a Chick-Fil-A franchise.  How does this pertain to the business of the Environmental Protection of the United States?  How does it pertain to anything other than increasing Scott and Marlyn’s wealth, which is already substantial, at least as compared to yours or mine.

When asked about the misuse of agency staff for a personal mission, Pruitt sounded just like Kellyanne, talking in circles all around the issue …

“I think with great change comes, you know, I think, opposition. I mean there’s significant change that’s happening for us, not only at the EPA but across this Administration, and it’s needed, and, uh, look, my wife is an entrepreneur herself. I love, she loves, we love Chick-Fil-A as a, as a franchise of faith, and it’s one of the best in the country, and so, that’s something we were very excited about.”

SOOOO????  I love P.F. Chang’s, too, but I’m not going to lie, cheat and steal to own one!  I will just go eat there once a month or so, and pay my check and leave a tip like everybody else.

But it gets even better … and remember, all this is just in the last week.  Prior to last week, he already had twelve federal investigations into his activities!  TWELVE!!!In December, Pruitt attended a University of Kentucky basketball game as a guest of coal baron Joseph W. Craft III, who has been lobbying the EPA on behalf of his coal company, Alliance Resource Partners.  Pruitt and Craft have met no less than seven times in a fourteen-month period.

And also last week, it was reported that Mr. Pruitt had visited a jewelry store in Washington where he spent $3,230 of taxpayer money!  What, you ask, did he buy?  Well, $1,560 went to buy 12 fountain pens.  $130 per pen.  WHY???  I buy a 12-pack of pens for $5.99 and they write just fine!  And anyway, doesn’t the GAO provide such things as pens, legal pads and toilet tissue?  I do not know quite what the other $1,670 was spent on, but we are told it was “gifts to the Administrator’s foreign counterparts and dignitaries upon his meeting with them.”Prior to any of the above, Pruitt was already under investigation for a host of potential crimes, including frequent first-class personal travel at taxpayer’s expense, inappropriate relations with representatives of the coal mining industry, unnecessary sweeping 24-hour security measures that have cost the EPA roughly $3.5 million, and more.

And amid all the scandal, Pruitt’s top aide, Millan Hupp, resigned on Monday – Friday will be her last day.  Hupp, as the director of scheduling and advance, has been entangled in many of the scandals dogging Pruitt.  She was one of two aides who received hefty salary bumps, even after the White House refused Pruitt’s request for raises. She recently testified to the House Oversight Committee that she regularly spent her days doing personal tasks for Pruitt, from hunting for housing to calling the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., in order to inquire about purchasing a used mattress.  Yes, you heard me right … for some unknown reason, Herr Pruitt wished to buy a used mattress from Trump Towers.  Ick. Pruitt’s top legal counsel, Sarah Greenwalt, also gave her resignation.

The democrats in Congress have long been fed-up with Pruitt’s costly antics, but this week, even the republicans are tired of it.

“I’m not going to come down here, just because he happens to be a nominee of a president I support or a nominee from my party, and try to defend the indefensible. I thought that Mr. Pruitt would have learned his lesson.” – Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana

“Some are true; some are not true. Whether he can weather the storm, I’m not sure. The accusations are all troubling. They are.” – Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of OklahomaThis man thinks the U.S. Treasury is his own personal bank account.  Remember Trump’s claim that he would “drain the swamp”.  Instead, he put Pruitt, the granddaddy of all alligators in it and feeds him well every day, at the White House mess, as it happens.  According to an article in Politico, Pruitt has been eating at the White House mess nearly every day … so often that he has been asked to cut back and “please eat elsewhere sometimes.”

It is past time for Scott Pruitt to hear the words, “You’re Fired”.  It is past time for We The People to demand accountability, starting with this very worst example of corruption, thievery and violations of ethics.  And it is far past time for Congress to demand that the Director of the EPA be fired without severance!  No, Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt is not doing an “impressive” job at the EPA, for he is far too busy wheeling and dealing, and wasting OUR money!

No Way To Treat Our Friends …

grenellRichard Grenell is yet another slap in the face by Trump to our European allies, particularly Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Before I delve into his most recent faux pas, let me tell you a bit about Mr. Grenell.

First, he was nominated to be the U.S. Ambassador to Germany by Donald Trump in October 2017, although he was not confirmed by the Senate until late April 2018.  Why, you may ask?  Because the democrats in the Senate had concerns over his fitness for the position.  Turns out, they were right to be concerned, but I will get to that in just a moment.

Grenell once served as an aide to John Bolton, the recently named national security advisor and a known warmonger famous for his desire to bomb both Iran and North Korea.  Grenell is also a contributor to Fox News.  As a spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, Grenell worked on sanctions and restrictions against Iran in response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, Grenell has been an outspoken critic of the Iran nuclear deal … you know … the one that Trump reneged on last month.

But all of that aside, the democrats had another good reason for concern where Grenell was concerned:  he is a xenophobe … an outspoken critic of women, especially those who hold power in government.  As a commentator on Fox, he has mocked Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright and others.  During his confirmation hearings, he was asked about his seeming aversion to women in politics.  He pulled a Roseanne Barr and said …

“There are times where what was intended to be humorous turned out to be not so humorous.”

Sorry, but not good enough.  Remember, if you will, that he was nominated to be the Ambassador to Germany … the most populous nation in the EU, and also a nation who just happens to have a female chancellor.  To add insult to injury, Trump has more than once criticized Chancellor Merkel and has made clear his disdain for her.  Ultimately Grenell was confirmed by the Senate, sworn in and traveled to Germany to begin his new job.

Now, let’s clarify for just a brief second what, exactly, the job of an ambassador is.

“All ambassadors officially represent the U.S. government on behalf of the president in treaty negotiations, immigration discussions, foreign aid projects and humanitarian aid programs. Ambassadors supervise and lead all foreign service employees in the country where they work. As the chief executive of the U.S. embassy, an ambassador also monitors the activities of all U.S. personnel who work for any federal agency in their jurisdiction. The ambassador and his/her staff also aid Americans traveling in the country and provide security for U.S. citizens during emergencies and natural disasters.”

The starting salary for U.S. ambassadors, by the way, is $126,148, and the maximum is $189,600.

Richard Grenell arrived in Germany to take up his post on May 8th, just under a month ago, and already he has stirred ire and contention on both sides of the pond.  So far, he has criticized Germany’s NATO spending, calling it ‘woeful’, and criticized Chancellor Merkel’s immigration policy.  But the worst was his interview a few days ago with … of all things … Breitbart!  And here is what he said that has stirred the political pot …

“There are a lot of conservatives throughout Europe who have contacted me to say they are feeling there is a resurgence going on.  I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders. I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left.”

WittigTo put it into context, consider if Germany’s ambassador to the United States, Peter Wittig, when he first came to the U.S. in 2014, had said that Barack Obama’s policies were failures and that he was looking forward to helping more republicans win congressional races.

Ambassadors are intended and expected to be completely neutral in the domestic politics of the countries in which they serve.  Period.  We do not send ambassadors to other nations to choose sides and campaign for candidates or policies.  They are there to represent the U.S.

Grenell didn’t stop there, though.  Grenell named immigration, tax cuts, and cutting red tape as major conservative issues to focus on as part of a winning strategy. He then went on to say he’s a “big fan” of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who has sharply criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policies. Last year, Kurz’s party also formed a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party, which was founded by Nazis.

It almost feels as if Trump has planted a ticking time bomb in Germany.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesperson said yesterday that Grenell would have to “explain what he meant” during his first official visit on Thursday. One German politician, Lars Klingbeil, tweeted to Grenell …

I know you are still quite new at your post, but it is not part of the job description of an ambassador to interfere in the politics of his guest country, Mr @RichardGrenell #thankyou — 6:00 AM – Jun 4, 2018

Another, Omid Nouripour, said Grenell’s comments “give the impression that the new US ambassador still hasn’t adjusted to his new role. At least the Russians make an effort not to be seen to be meddling in other countries’ affair. [sic]

trump-merkelTrump has already created an atmosphere of distrust among our allies by pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Accords, pulling out of the TPP, reneging on our commitment to the Iran nuclear deal, criticizing our allies, and just last week placing unwarranted tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the EU.  He has insulted Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel on more than one occasion.  And now the ambassador he sends to Germany has offended at least half the nation.  I have to ask … is total mass destruction of planet earth his intent?  He loves to take credit for things, especially big things.  Does he figure to start WWIII and then take credit for having had the biggest button?

My Choice, Ms. Sanders, Is …

According to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders …

“Look, at some point, Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this president.”

Well, well, well.  Thank you so much, Ms. Sanders, for that apples-to-oranges comparison, and for explaining to me what I must do.  Aren’t you just the epitome of wisdom? Sanders-patriotismBut please allow me to explain some things to you, Ms. Sanders.

Quite honestly, at this point, I am not at all proud of my country.  Now, you will notice that I did not say I don’t like this country and what it stood for until recently.  I did not say that I don’t support the basis of our governmental system.  And I certainly did not say that I would like to see this nation destroyed.  Love?  I don’t think of my feelings toward this or any other nation as love.  I reserve love for the feelings I may have toward a handful of people, or my Significant Seven.

Many of the very things I hate today about this country are inextricably tied to Mr. Trump.  Allow me to name a few:

  • The wave of white supremacy that, while it did not begin with Donald Trump, has been legitimized and encouraged by him since he first began his campaign in 2015. Slugs and other slimy creatures are crawling out from under rocks and threatening the very diversity upon which this nation was founded.  Meanwhile, Trump is turning over even more rocks by referring to white supremacists and neo-Nazis as ‘very fine people’.

  • The lack of morals and values that has filtered down from the very top, from Trump himself. When the leader of a nation brags about his sexual exploitation of women, even sometimes young girls, when he flaunts his extramarital affairs and supports sexual predators within his own ranks, what sort of example does that set?  What does that say to our children and grandchildren about respecting others?


  • The denigration of the poor by Trump and republicans in Congress. The “let them eat cake” attitude of Trump’s hand-picked Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson.  The foolish attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) simply because Trump doesn’t like President Obama, costing millions of people to lose access to health care.  And let us not forget the truly horrible tax plan of last year that almost exclusively benefits only the wealthy, including most republicans in Congress, and also Trump himself.


  • The near-total dishonesty that emanates from not only Trump, but also from all his minions, including yourself, Ms. Sanders. Trump’s lies started, in all likelihood, as soon as he learned to use words.  His lies to this country began on his first day in office when he claimed that the number of people who attended his inauguration was far greater than it was, and he hasn’t had a single day that he hasn’t lied to us about something since then.  You, Ms. Sanders, should be ashamed that you stand at that podium, day after day, and feed those very same lies to we, the people, of this republic.


  • The pitting of left vs right, republican vs democrat, liberal vs conservative. Trump has so divided this nation, more so than it has been at any time since the end of the Civil War, more than 150 years ago, by blaming democrats for everything that goes wrong and screeching his divisive rhetoric at campaign-style rallies and on Twitter, rather than addressing the citizenry in an appropriate manner.  He continues to blame the past administration for his own failures and continues to demand his masses chant “Lock her up” in reference to Hillary Clinton. This, more than the threat of terrorism, is a threat to our national security. Ever hear the quote “United we stand, Divided we fall”?  Think about that one, Ms. Sanders.


  • The denigration of the legitimate, mainstream press, while praising such conspiracy theorists as Sean Hannity and Alex Jones. When he calls the press, the honest press, “the enemy of the people”, he does a disservice not only to the legitimate press who make reporting of facts their business, but also to the people of this nation, for there are always some who are eager to believe him.  He is basically telling the American people to believe nobody but him, and that is a very dangerous stance.


  • The bigotry that has set civil rights back at least 50 years. He has supported hate groups, while denigrating the LGBT community with his attempts to keep them out of the military.  He has promoted xenophobia with his hateful rhetoric against Muslims and Mexicans, and his travel bans and calls for ridiculous multi-billion dollar border walls.  And he has even publicly, in front of perhaps millions of people, mocked a disabled man. How low, Ms. Sanders, can one get?


  • The blatant disregard for the climate science and scientists, while attempting to re-energize the fossil fuel industry which is destroying our planet. Almost every single scientist who has studied climate science agrees that the pollutants humans are putting into the air, soil and water are destroying the earth’s atmosphere and that by the time your grandchildren are adults, the planet may well be unable to sustain its population.  Yet, Donald Trump, claims it is all bunk (it is not) and continues to promote the use of very damaging fossil fuels.  He also made the U.S. an object of scorn and ridicule when he announced his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords, making the U.S. the only nation on the entire planet to fail in helping preserve and protect our earth.


  • The hiring of the most un-qualified people for cabinet positions, that has already led to deterioration of our educational system, our trade policies, our foreign policy, our law enforcement community, our environment, our election process, and much more. It appears that he tried very hard to find, not only the most unqualified people for the job, but those who had a history of trying to shut down the very agencies for which they were nominated.


  • His already-proven obstruction of justice, collusion to ‘buy’ his way into the Oval Office at the potential cost of our national security. Top that off with his constant rhetoric that Robert Mueller’s investigation into this matter constitutes a ‘witch hunt’, and his dishonesty continues to grow much as did Pinocchio’s nose.

I could go on, but I have provided you sufficient evidence to support my answer to your question. When all of these things are taken together and given careful consideration, when I look around at our country today – the hate speech, the divisiveness, the violence – I would have to say, Ms. Sanders, that if you claim I must choose between loving my country, or hating Trump … I hate Trump for what he has done to the country I was once proud of.  I hope this answers your question.

More Clowns Join The Circus Of Horrors …

The Trump administration is having trouble finding people to fill positions.  Recently, two attorneys declined an offer to join Trump’s legal team, which has lost one person and another is set to leave.  Another lawyer was disqualified due to conflict of interest.  Few people are masochistic enough to actually want to work for Donald Trump, to join in the chaos and toxicity that defines the atmosphere in the White House.  So, what to do?  Look to different venues for a pool from which to hire, of course.  And that is just what Trump & Co are doing.  What venue, you ask?  Well, television, for one …The most recent, announced on Wednesday, is Caroline Sunshine.  She is 22-years-old and was hired as a ‘press assistant’.  Her qualifications?  Well, she was in a Disney series about teen dancers, called Shake It Up for three years, from 2010 – 2013.  And … um … she has had a role in a few movies.  And … she … well, let’s cut to the chase, people … she is young and pretty.  That is her biggest qualification.

Then there was Larry Kudlow, who was hired from CNBC to replace Gary Cohn as director of the White House National Economic Council.  Kudlow’s qualifications include a stint on Wall Street with Bear Stearns, a position he was forced to resign in light of his drug addiction.  Since then, he has been a host and commentator on CNBC.  He’s the one I wrote about before, the one who said the Bush economy was alive and well in December 2007, just days before the financial crisis of 2008 began.  And now he is Trump’s top financial advisor.  What could possibly go wrong?

Let us not forget that earlier this month, Trump hired Fox News contributor John Bolton to replace H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor.  Bolton is a warmonger, a man whose motto would seem to be, “bomb first, ask questions later”, since at various times he has advocated bombing both North Korea and Iran.  He briefly held the position of Ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush, but stepped down when it appeared that the Senate would not confirm his appointment. What qualifies him for this position?  Nothing that I can see.  He has never served in the military, has never studied another region of the world, or another period of history, and he is a strong advocate of using war rather than diplomacy to solve problems.  I repeat, what could possibly go wrong?

And some of you may not have heard of Heather Nauert, a former Fox News contributor and correspondent.  She was hired in April 2017 to be the State Department Spokesperson.  And then, just this month, with the firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Nauert was promoted to acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.  What qualifies her for either of these two positions?  Darned if I know … I think the blonde hair may have something to do with it, though.

Mercedes Schlapp, a Fox News contributor and occasional columnist for other publications, was hired in September 2017 as Director of Strategic Communications.  Strategic, eh?  The latest rumour is that she is likely to be tapped to replace Hope Hicks as White House Communications Director. Her qualifications include that she is against same-sex marriage, hated Obama, and is a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA).  Oh, and like Sunshine and Nauert, her looks  may well have given her an edge.

And finally, there’s Tony Sayegh.  Tony was also a Fox News contributor (anyone starting to see a pattern here?), and also a correspondent for Talk Media News, and even once served as deputy mayor of Tuckahoe, New York, population 6,615.  Tony was hired in March 2017 as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.  Tony, at least, has a degree in Political Science, which none of the aforementioned do, but he is, nonetheless, misplaced in his job, for his position would be better served by degrees in economics and finance.  At least we know he didn’t likely get hired for his blond hair or other physical qualifications.

Now, I ask you to think about this for a few minutes, dear readers.  Apart from the most obvious concern, that none of these people have the experience needed for the positions they are in, there are other potential pitfalls.  First, at this rate, Fox News will have to shut down for lack of people to fill the airwaves with propaganda!  But my concern is … what are the other possibilities?

Think about the uber-obnoxious Tucker Carlson to replace Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Or … what about conspiracy-theorist Sean Hannity to replace Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General?  What’s that you say … Sean doesn’t have a law degree?  So what … this is the alternative universe of Trump, where the only real requirement for a job is that you are the least qualified candidate, that you are loyal to Trump, and that you understand the concept of un-truth.  That makes Sean a perfect fit.  Or, picture the foul-mouthed Laura Ingraham replacing John Kelly as Trump’s Chief of Staff?  Feeling sick yet?  🤢Oh … and there is one more newly hired person who did not come from television, but in fact was Trump’s personal doctor!  David Shulkin was fired from his job as head of Veteran’s Affairs this week (I will have more on this later), and is being replaced by doc Ronny Jackson.  Personally, I think this is Ronny’s reward for lying and saying that Trump was mentally and physically fit for his job.

And there you have it, folks.  No more looking to top, qualified and experienced people to fill the positions that our tax dollars pay for … from this point forward, they will come from television, most likely Fox and Breitbart, and from a pool of personal acquaintances to whom Trump is indebted in one way or another!  I guess if we cannot get good governance, we may as well enjoy the entertainment value of this Circus of Horrors.

Score Another One For Depravity In The White House

Morals:  a person’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.

Values:  a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.

Integrity:  the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.


Remember back in 2001, just a few months after his inauguration, when George W. and Laura Bush’s twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, were busted for trying to buy beer using a fake I.D.?  Just the month before, Jenna was arrested at 1:00 a.m. in a nightclub in Austin, Texas, because she was holding a bottle of beer. She turned up in court in a low-cut black shirt, pink Capri trousers and a toe ring. She was fined $51.25 and sentenced to eight hours of community service and six hours of alcohol awareness classes. The charge read: “Glass of beer – drank from it.”  OH, the SCANDAL!!!  If you remember, the media had a field day with it!

Remember August of 2014 when President Obama had the unmitigated gall, the audacity, to actually wear a tan suit???  GASP!!!  Representative Peter King righteously went on an extended rant:

“There’s no way any of us can excuse what the president did yesterday. When you have the world watching … a week, two weeks of anticipation of what the United States is gonna do. For him to walk out —I’m not trying to be trivial here— in a light suit, light tan suit, saying that first he wants to talk about what most Americans care about the revision of second quarter numbers on the economy. This is a week after Jim Foley was beheaded and he’s trying to act like real Americans care about the economy, not about ISIS and not about terrorism. And then he goes on to say he has no strategy.”Why, it was the scandal of the year!

And do you remember when in early 2009, Michelle Obama … wait for it … wore a sleeveless dress!!!  The horror of it all!!!  The republicans went nuts, and then later she was slammed for wearing, of all things, shorts while on vacation!!!  No matter what Ms. Obama did, she could not get it right, and she introduced one scandal after another!  She was criticized for having a bit of fun by challenging Ellen Degeneres to a push-up competition.  She was slammed for trying to make school lunches healthy.  Oh … would you like to compare Michelle Obama to Melania Trump?I could take you back throughout the history of this nation and find at least a few scandals in every single administration, but that is not my purpose tonight.  I will not even dwell on the incidents and events in the current administration that should well be considered scandals, but barely earn a roll of the eyes.  Suffice it to say that with all of Donald Trump’s affairs and the credible accusations of sexual misconduct against him, his administration has single-handedly re-defined morals, values and integrity.  And now this …

Trump Talks of Bringing Back Rob Porter, Aide Accused of Spousal Abuse

I first saw it in a tweet by Matt Dowd, and I thought, “Nah … never happen.”  But, I have always respected Dowd and never known him to be sensationalist, so … sigh … I went in search of, and sure enough, Donald Trump wants Porter to return to the fold.

The story in the New York Times gives the impression that Trump is feeling lonely, with so many of his close friends leaving his employ, and he longs for the ‘good old days’ when his buddy Rob Porter brought ‘structure’ {cough, choke, gasp} to the White House.  It is said that Trump used to spend two hours a day with him.  Well of course he did … they have much in common, such as complete disrespect for women!  I can just imagine some of the conversations they must have had!  And it is also said that since Porter’s departure, Trump has frequently called him and even discussed policy regarding tariffs with him.

Take a look at the people the “leader” of this nation supports and admires. First it was pedophile Roy Moore.  Then racist Joe Arpaio.  Then the KKK and neo-Nazis.  And now a wife-beater.

At what point do our elected representatives in Congress, democrat and republican, find their morals, their values, their integrity, and say “This is enough!!!”?  At what point do the Trump supporters, who are largely evangelical ‘Christians’, remember that they are supposed to believe sexual abuse, spousal abuse are wrong???

Compared to the lack of decency as defined any way you want to define it, John F. Kennedy’s frequent extra-marital affairs were child’s play.  The Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinski scandal was naught, yet he was impeached.  Think about that one.  I am not defending Bill Clinton, mind you, but he had consensual sex with an adult aide, and since he lied about it, he was impeached.  He didn’t go on national television and brag about how he could and did abuse women.  He did not have 16 women accusing him of sexual abuse.  He did not lie, cheat and steal while in the White House.  But yet, to this day, people on the right are more outraged by Bill Clinton than they are by the morally bankrupt clown sitting in the Oval Office.

It makes me wonder if those who support Donald Trump maybe, just maybe, deserve what they are getting.  Perhaps their morals, values and integrity have sunk as low as his.  Only problem is, the rest of us don’t deserve it.

The Island of Misfits …

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I worked for a small company, just over 100 employees total.  Since it was a small company, just starting up, all of us in management wore many hats.  My primary title was Comptroller, but I also wore the hats of Human Resource Director and Logistics Manager.  It was around 1990, I think, and one of my accounting staff had resigned, so I placed an ad in the local paper (this was before Monster.com and CareerBuilders).  In the ad, I plainly stated that the applicant must be savvy in Microsoft applications, such as Excel and Word, and have a general understanding of Accounting software.  One lady who came in to interview seemed quite nice, but …

Me:  So, tell me about your computer experience, particularly in Microsoft applications

She:  Well, to be honest, I’ve never used a computer, but if you can show me how to turn it on, I think I can figure out the rest.

No, friends, I am not joking.  That was exactly what she said.  She was the least qualified candidate imaginable for the position, and no, I did not hire her.

Under the current ideology of our federal government, however, I would have hired her. The reigning philosophy in the big White House at the moment, seems to be to hire the person who has no qualifications whatsoever, just so long as they meet certain criteria:

  • Must ardently deny that the emissions of carbon into the atmosphere by the activities of humans have any effect on the environment
  • Must ardently support the right of every man, woman and child to own at least one gun, preferably an assault-type weapon
  • Must be willing to lie, cheat and steal on command
  • Must be a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and support their mission
  • Must have net assets totaling more than $1 million
  • Must not be burdened by either compassion or a conscience
  • Must either have traveled to Russia in the past year, or have significant business holdings in Russia
  • Must be able to change your opinion 180° within 30 seconds flat
  • Must have a history of sexual aggression or perversion
  • Must be willing to agree with Donald Trump 100%, all of the time, even when you know he is wrong
  • Must be a WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant)
  • Must strongly oppose any form of nationalized universal healthcare

And finally, the most important …

  • Must have no experience or expertise in the field for which you are applying

We have seen so many examples of this …

  • Scott Pruitt – tapped to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) … an agency he had sued 14 times as Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma
  • Betsy DeVos – appointed as Secretary of Education, though she has no teaching background, no degree in education, and has promoted taking funding from public schools to establish charter schools, that would benefit a very small number of students
  • Jefferson Beauregard Sessions – appointed as Attorney General of the U.S., despite, or perhaps because of, his well-documented racist attitudes
  • Ben Carson – Secretary of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), though his field of expertise is medicine/surgery, and he has nothing that qualifies him for the position
  • Jim Bridenstine – Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), despite having no background in scientific research, no college degree in any hard science

And the list goes on … and on. Any Human Resource director would be having nightmares over this rag-tag staff!  But now, we can add two more from just the past two days.

Mike Pompeo has just been selected, though not yet confirmed by the Senate, to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.  I won’t ramble on about this one, for I did that yesterday.  And the latest?  Trump has appointed Lawrence Kudlow to replace Gary Cohn as head of the National Economic Council, top economic advisor.  I am applying for a new passport next week … I foolishly let mine expire.  Let us learn a little bit about Mr. Kudlow, shall we?kudlowIt is said that Kudlow has been wrong about almost everything for at least the past several decades.    Take this one, for example:

“Despite all the doom and gloom from the economic pessimistas, the resilient U.S. economy continues moving ahead. There’s no recession coming. The pessimistas were wrong. It’s not going to happen.  The Bush boom is alive and well. It’s finishing up its sixth consecutive year with more to come. Yes, it’s still the greatest story never told.” – Larry Kudlow, 07 December 2007

Note the date … according to the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research (the official arbiter of U.S. recessions) the recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, and thus extended over eighteen months. (A side note: President Obama, who has often been blamed for the recession by the GOP, did not take office until January 20th 2009, fully 13 months after the official start of the recession, and just 5 months before its end.)  And this is the guy who will now be advising the president, the man who leads the nation into either poverty or prosperity, on economic issues???

In 1993, when Bill Clinton proposed an increase in the top tax rate from 31 percent to 39.6 percent, Kudlow wrote, “There is no question that President Clinton’s across-the-board tax increases … will throw a wet blanket over the recovery and depress the economy’s long-run potential to grow.” This was wrong. Instead, a boom ensued.

The list of his faux pas is long, but the above examples should be enough to convince you that this man does not understand basic economic principles and wears blinders to shut out reality most of the time.

Kudlow’s background includes a degree in history from The University of Rochester in Rochester, New York.  Kudlow also attended, but did not complete, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he studied political science and economics.  He should have stayed there longer.

He worked in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under Reagan … remember ‘supply-side’ economics and the ‘trickle-down’ theory?  But it is what he has been doing since that is mind-boggling in light of the position he was just awarded.  He hosts a talk radio show.  “The Larry Kudlow Show” airs on Saturday mornings from 10am to 1pm ET and via nationwide syndication via Westwood One.  I hear Alex Jones of InfoWars is being considered to replace Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy.  🙄

Suffice it to say that this is yet another on Trump’s long list of inappropriate appointees.  He obviously goes looking for the least capable, least qualified for each position.  We can only hope that they all get voted off the island before they destroy the island altogether.

Island of misfit toys

 

From Bad To Worse …

The first news I saw this morning was that Tillerson had been fired, which anybody with half a brain predicted months ago.  Now, Tillerson was highly unqualified for the job of Secretary of State, as I wrote in May 2017.  However, in defense of Mr. Tillerson, he was trying to learn his job, was trying, I think, to do the right thing.  Or perhaps I am only in his corner because he had the nerve to call Donald Trump a moron last October.

At any rate, Tillerson is out and in his place comes Mike Pompeo, who until today was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  Now, I know that hearing me say what I’m about to say is getting old and you’re tired of hearing it, but hey … I’m not the one who keeps finding these people.  Mike Pompeo is highly unqualified to be in the position of Secretary of State.  Surprised, aren’t you?  Let’s take a brief look at ol’ Mikey …

He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from West Point in 1986, and with a JD from Harvard Law School in 1994.  And what has he done since then?  He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 until Trump tapped him for the CIA position almost immediately after the 2016 election.  His political views make him a perfect fit for the Trump ‘team’, for he leans far to the right and is or was a member of the “Tea Party” movement.  Let’s take a closer look … you may want to make sure you have an antacid close by …

On climate change and protecting the environment:

“There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.”  (Seriously?  It seems that I recall reading that 97% of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.)

“Federal policy should be about the American family, not worshipping a radical environmental agenda.”  (Just how long do you think the American family will continue to exist if we don’t protect our home, the planet Earth, Mr. P?)

He also opposes the regulation of Greenhouse gas emissions by the United States, and supports eliminating the United States federal register of greenhouse gas emissions.  Are you beginning to understand why Trump picked him?

He has called for the permanent elimination of wind power production tax credits, calling them an “enormous government handout”.

Pompeo is a member of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the conservative political advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers.  Their agenda, naturally, is to place as many far-right candidates in key Congressional positions as possible.  To that tune, during the 2014 election season, the Koch brothers, David and Charles, contributed nearly a half-million dollars to Pompeo’s campaign.  He signed the AFP’s “No Climate Tax” pledge …No climate tax pledgeAnd the AFP isn’t his only connection to the infamous Kochs.  In 1998, Pompeo co-founded Thayer Aerospace and Private Security, funded in part by investments by the Koch brothers.

He opposes same-sex marriage, opposes workplace protection for the LGBT community, which has earned him a zero rating with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).  But I know you’ll be happy to hear that he has an “A” rating with the National Rifle Association (NRA)!

Toward the latter part of his short tenure, Tillerson seemed to be stepping up to the plate, and only yesterday condemned Russia for the chemical attack against a former Russian spy in the UK – a stance that the Trump White House refused to take, and one that was likely the straw that broke the camel’s back for Tillerson’s tenure in the State Department.  Tillerson was not an ideal Secretary of State, but it is the opinion of this writer that Pompeo will be worse.  Trump has made a shambles of our relations with allies across the pond, and Pompeo is likely to support Trump blindly, causing even more rifts.  Pompeo has absolutely zero foreign policy experience, and has rigid, uncompromising views on human rights.  This is not what we need, especially as Trump heads to his first meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea.

Pompeo will have to be confirmed by the Senate, of course, but as we have seen in the past 14 months, that is a rubber stamp, as the republicans in the Senate continue to lick Trump’s boots.

Two-In-One

Two notable stories caught my eye yesterday, neither warranting an entire post, but both of some importance, so I decided to combine them into a single post.


Another bad choice in the EPA

Yet again, the fox has been tasked with watching over the henhouse.  The fox, in this case, is Peter Wright, an attorney for Dow Chemical.  The henhouse is otherwise known as the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM). Wright would oversee the development of guidelines for the land disposal of hazardous waste and underground storage tanks and respond to accidental chemical releases through the Superfund program. Dow Chemical has dozens of pending Superfund cases.  Wow … does anybody see a conflict of interest here?

The appointment must be confirmed by the senate … we will see if they are finally ready to do their jobs, or if they are still being good little bootlickers.

Another major figure at the EPA who makes decisions on Superfund issues is Albert Kelly, who was banned from the banking industry for life for violating federal banking laws.  Kelly owns stock in Phillips 66, which has potential Superfund liability at 31 sites around the country.

For those who may not be completely clear on what a Superfund site is, allow me to provide a brief explanation.  Superfund is a United States federal government program designed to fund the cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous substances and pollutants. Sites managed under this program are referred to as “Superfund” sites. It was established as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. It authorizes federal natural resource agencies, primarily the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states and Native American tribes to recover natural resource damages caused by hazardous substances. The EPA may identify parties responsible for hazardous substances released to the environment (polluters) and either compel them to clean up the sites, or it may undertake the cleanup on its own using the Superfund (a trust fund) and costs recovered from polluters by referring to the U.S. Department of Justice.

When the polluter is known, they are forced to pay for the cleanup, but when it cannot be determined who caused the damage, or the polluter is unable to pay, then the burden falls on the taxpayer, which occurs about 30% of the time.  Until the mid-1990s, the monies came from a tax on the petro-chemical industries, but now it is the burden of the taxpayers.

Dow Chemical is currently responsible to cover the costs of cleanup at no less than 131 Superfund sites, and is currently under obligation to the tune of $152 million.  So now, if the Senate confirms Wright for the position, he will be in charge of ensuring that Dow pays for the cleanup of those sites.  Dow, a company to whom he has owed his loyalty for the past 19 years!

Despite Trump’s campaign pledges to “drain the swamp” in Washington, Wright’s nomination is the latest example of the President appointing corporate lawyers or lobbyists to supervise federal offices that directly regulate their former employers.


Is Paul Ryan seeing the light … finally?

Has Paul Ryan finally had enough?  Did Donald Trump finally cross some invisible line with Ryan, perhaps place the straw that broke the camel’s back?  Let us hope.

What was that ‘straw’?  The tariffs on steel and aluminum that Trump announced late last week.  Ryan’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, said yesterday, “We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan.  The new tax reform law has boosted the economy and we certainly don’t want to jeopardize those gains.”

Well, I would certainly argue with the logic as regards the tax ‘reform’ law, which has not had time to ‘boost’ the economy, and is not likely to at any rate.  But whatever gets the sycophants in Congress off their butts and finally doing their job, let us not quibble.  After hearing of Ryan’s statements this morning, Trump declared that he is not “backing down”.

House Ways and Means Chairman, republican Kevin Brady and subcommittee chairman Dave Reichert, also a republican, have also tried to convince Trump that this is the wrong thing at the wrong time.  In addition to worries of what the tariffs will do to the economy, republicans worry that the move will likely cost them seats in November’s mid-term elections.  While I would be happy to see the republicans lose seats in November, I am not happy to see Trump start a trade war where there can be no winners, where we all stand to lose.

It is most unfortunate that Trump is so hellbent on imposing the tariffs, for it is a poor move and one likely to cause economic waves worldwide.  But perhaps the positive note in all of this is that the republicans in Congress, or at least many of them, are not happy … perhaps now they will remove their blinders, pack away their shoe shine kits and put some brakes on Trump, as they should have been doing for the past 13 months.

The Constitution actually gives Congress the authority over taxation and tariffs, but in recent years, Congress has been content to delegate that authority to the president.  Until now, it had not caused problems, but until now, we had leaders with two things the current one lacks:  intellect and a conscience.

Trump responded with his usual aplomb:

“Our country on trade has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world, whether it’s friend or anybody – China, Russia, people we think are wonderful, the European Union. We lost $800 billion a year on trade. Not going to happen.”

“Ripped off by virtually every country in the world”?  Really???  Where are the handlers?  Have they all jumped ship too?

Note to readers:  Yesterday’s eye surgery went well, though I was extremely tired all afternoon.  It will take a couple of days before I am able to see out of that eye again, and I am temporarily back to needing the magnifying glass to read/write, so I will, in all likelihood still be a bit slow for the rest of this week.  Thanks to all for the well-wishes and hugs … always greatly appreciated!

Competitive Elections Are Bad For Us?

Most of us give very little thought to the U.S. Census Bureau and the census that is taken once every ten years.  Ho hum, right?  We get a form, fill it out, send it back and at the end, we read in the news how many people live in the country … just another statistic to store away somewhere in the backs of our minds, for there are more important things to think about.  But you may want to start thinking a bit harder about the census that will be taken in 2020.

census logoThe census is about more than simply counting how many people are in the country.  It is also the source for the demographics that are used by the government to make policy decisions. And, it determines such things as how many electoral votes each state gets, how may representatives each state will have in Congress, and where district lines will be drawn.  Therefore, it is pretty important to have accuracy in the census.  Though it is impossible to ever have complete accuracy, the Census Bureau strives for the highest possible degree of accuracy … we hope.

Currently, the head of the U.S. Census Bureau is a temporary career civil servant, and as the agency is beginning to gear up for the 2020 census, Trump is looking to appoint a permanent head for the bureau. Now think back to some of Trump’s other appointments. Trump has made a habit of appointing individuals to serve in his administration who are either supremely unqualified or seemingly opposed to the very objectives of the agencies they are tapped to lead:  Betsy DeVos, who is against public schools, for Secretary of the Department of Education; Jeff Sessions, a known racist, for U.S. Attorney General; Scott Pruitt, who has sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) multiple times, for head of the EPA, the very agency he has threatened to abolish. So who, you might ask, is Trump reportedly planning to appoint to lead the Census Bureau?

brunell

Thomas Brunell

Thomas Brunell, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas at Dallas, and author of the book Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections are Bad for America (Controversies in Electoral Democracy and Representation).  Think on this one for just a minute, friends.  The man who will be in charge of the department that will determine how representation is apportioned believes that competitive elections are a bad thing.  Mind-boggling, don’t you think?

The leadership positions in the U.S. Census Bureau have typically been held by non-partisan civil servants with a background in statistics. Trump is planning to nominate Brunell to the number two position at the bureau, deputy director, which does not require Senate confirmation, as the position of director would. Brunell would become the highest-ranking permanent official at the agency. Though the deputy director technically reports to the census director, that slot is temporarily being filled by a career civil servant. There is currently no nominee for a permanent director.

brunell-bookTrump has already paved the way for curtailment of voter’s rights with his false, unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud in the 2016 elections.  He is also said to be considering an executive order to add a question to the census form about immigration/citizenship status, which would reduce the number of responses from minorities, fearing what the government might do with the information.  At the same time, his budget calls for an inadequate 7% increase for the Census Bureau at a time when they bureau must hire tens of thousands of people and open dozens of field offices nationwide.  And we cannot forget his ‘Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’ which has been the source of much controversy and is currently facing a number of lawsuits after attempting to collect the private information, including Social Security numbers and criminal conviction data of registered voters.

The appointment of Brunell is but another indication that Trump has little respect for our rights as voters, for the democratic process.  My hope is that Trump will be out of office by the end of 2018, but even so, many of the moves he is making today, such as the appointment of Brunell, may be difficult to undo, if his replacement is even willing to reverse his actions.  Coupled with the fact that there is no doubt in my mind Russia will continue to play a role in our elections, since there have been no repercussions to them, no sanctions, for their proven interference in the 2016 elections, I think it’s safe to say our right to have a voice in government is greatly diminished.

Terri Ann Lowenthal, former co-director of the Census Project, said, “It is imperative that the Census Bureau’s leadership be viewed by the public and by lawmakers as completely nonpartisan. If either the director or the deputy director bring partisan baggage to their position, public confidence in the integrity of the census could plummet. So could congressional confidence. And it is Congress that must accept the apportionment results. All this stuff worries me.”